Mario Kart DS is a racing game rated E for Everyone. It is the fifth installment in the Mario Kart series. Released in November 2005 for the Nintendo DS, this was the first game that used the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. This enabled people to play with everyone from around the world, and also playing with friends via friend codes. The game supports Download Play, using only one game cartridge. Download play also unlocks a special character Shy Guy. Single Player's Grand Prix mode allows you to unlock new characters for each cup and class. In total, there are twelve characters. A notable character is R.O.B., a peripheral for the Nintendo Entertainment System. When you finish the Grand Prix, all characters in and their karts are unlocked. If you play time trials in single player you can unlock a Staff Ghost if you get a fast enough time. There is also a new game mode to the series, mission mode. If you get a star ranking on every single mission, you unlock the seventh set of missions.
3D graphics for the first time on a handheld.
New "retro cups" with courses designed after past Mario Kart games
Touchscreen capabilities, although limited
WiFi play, with Shy Guy as an online exclusive character
There are several items in this game (many of them newly introduced), which are typically used to help you get an advantage, or to hinder others.
Mushroom: Mushrooms are used to give you a short speed boost, which can be very useful in taking shortcuts across rough ground (Which would normally slow you down dramatically) or simply to pass someone. In Battle Mode, you can steal balloons if you hit a opponent during the boost. However, if you have three balloons, you will simply knock off the target's balloons.
Golden Mushroom: Like a mushroom, you are given a temporary speed boost, but with a golden mushroom, you can use the boost as many times as you want for a limited period of time.
Banana Peel: A player can set these on the course, or throw them in front of themselves. Either way, if someone runs into it, they'll spin out and, in battle mode, lose a balloon or shine sprite (Depending on which battle mode you're playing)
Multiple Banana Peels: This allows the player to have a trail of three banana peels trailing them, which the player can then chose to either set individually, or use to block red or green shells, which others can shoot at you.
Fake Item Boxes: A stationary object, resembling an item box, but, when hit, will cause the one who hit it to spin out, and will be unable to move for a short amount of time. Hitting these can be easily avoided if one knows the course well, if the player pays close attention to the map on the bottom screen, or if you notice that the "?" mark is upside-down on a fake "?" block.
Red Shell: This shell can either bet set behind you, or shot toward the person nearest in front of you. This shell will track it's target, but is not particularly intelligent. On occasion, it will attempt to pass through walls, which cannot be done. Also, it will NOT bounce off walls.
Green Shell: Like the red shell, this shell can be set behind you, or shot to the front of you. Unlike the red shell, however, this shell will not track a target, but it will bounce several times, given that it doesn't hit someone before hand.
Red/Green shell trios: Three red or green shells will orbit the player, blocking most attacks. But, one can chose to shoot these shells toward others, and they will act the same as the single form of either colored shell.
Blue Shell: A shell, which, unlike the red and green shells, doesn't slide along the ground, but flies. When used it immediately takes the quickest route toward whoever is in first place in the current race, causing an explosion which makes them to spin out and be temporarily immobile for several seconds, which can completely change the outcome of a race if used at the correct time. But, if the player uses it while s/he is in first place, the shell will come back and hit them. This is a fairly rare item, but when you get it, it is a great help.
Blooper: An item new to the Mario Kart series, this item causes a blooper to appear on the top screen of everyone who is ahead of you, and shoot ink, obstructing their view. Although, an experienced player is hardly affected by such a minor inconvenience, the Computer-Controlled players seem to suffer a lot from bloopers, as they slow down and make very erratic movements, causing them to be passed by just about anyone.
Bob-omb: Bob-ombs can be thrown far ahead of the player, or set down behind the player, but either way, the Bob-omb can be deadly. And player unlucky enough to strike the bob-omb, or be within it's blast radius when it explodes, will be taken out of commission for a time almost rivaling that of the flying blue shell.
Boo: This item makes the player temporarily invulnerable to all items, and to rough ground (Which would normally slow you down) and, attempts to steal another players item.
Star: Gives temporary immunity to all items, rough terrain, and gives you a small, but noticeable speed boost. Also, anyone they touch will be temporarily stopped, as they get tumbled over.
Bullet Bill: Temporarily transforms the player into a bullet bill, during which time, they get a speed boost, and are put in a sort of "Auto-Pilot" mode, in which the player is no longer required to do anything until the effect wears off. The bullet will travel the course perfectly, knocking aside anyone who is unlucky enough to be in the way.
Lightning: This item is used to shrink all players who are ahead of you in the race, along with forcing them to drop their held item on to the course. While shrunk, players move at half their normal speed. The effect of this Lightning bolt wears off in order of place (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.) with the player in first having the effect wear off last.
Obstacles and Hazards
The Mario Kart series has had many obstacles in almost every course, and that also includes Mario Kart DS. Here is a list of all the obstacles that you will encounter.
Boxes: You'll find wooden boxes throughout the game. Once you crash into a box, it will explode, making you stop, plus, sometimes an item will come out of one once you crash into it.
Cheep Cheep: Cheep Cheeps are swimming around in the water, so its easy to dodge them since you usually don't have to go there.
Crab: You will finds crabs on Cheep Cheep Beach, if you run into one, you will suddenly start to spin around for a couple of seconds. This could tragically put you in last place on the account that there near the end of the level.
Monty Mole: You will find Monty Moles on multiple courses such as Peach Gardens and Moo Moo Farm. You will see small holes in the ground, sometimes, Monty Moles will pop out of the holes and try to spin you out.
Piranha Plant: Piranha Plants will appear in a couple of courses. They will pop out of there pipe, then try to spit out fire balls at you, or just keep snapping.
Pokey: You'll find Pokies on the Desert Hills stage. They will be swaying back and forth in one spot. If you crash into one, you'll fly in the air and come back down to the ground, putting off a few seconds of the racing time.
Rocky Wrench: You'll find Rocky Wrenches on the Airship stage. On this stage, the moles will pop out of the sewers on the ship. Though they don't throw wrenches at you like they do in Super Mario Bros 3, you can still be harmed if you run into them.
This is the newest feature of the game. An emblem is a decal or picture that appears as a sort of symbol for someone on their kart.
The emblem appears only on certain places on a kart, and depending on where its put, the emblem may be smaller, bigger and/or stretched out. The player also has the ability to choose from various patterns ranging from a Star to Thunderbolt and also the shape of Mario's face. The player also can choose not to use a custom emblem and to use an original emblem already designed for the a character. Emblems are displayed during All matches, whether VS, Time Trial, or online via Wi-Fi connection.
There are 12 characters and 32 courses in the game. Every character is the staff ghost of at least 2 courses; The default characters are each the staff ghosts of 3 courses; the unlockable characters only have 2. Below is a table of all the characters and the course they're the staff ghost of.
Mario Kart DS supports Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. Once you press the Wifi icon in the game, you will be brought to a area where you can select if you want to race against people in your country, around the world, with friends, or with rivals. Once you do you will be able to chose a course, and which ever one with the most votes will be the one you play on. If the number of votes are equal, then it will pick randomly on the selected courses.
In the Japanese version of the game, R.O.B is red & white and has the name HVC-012. HVC-012, or better know as Famicom Robot, is the original Japanese version of R.O.B. Additionally, HVC-012 is the true staff ghost on Desert Hills and Rainbow Road, not R.O.B (thus the * in the table above). HVC-012 has the same karts as R.O.B, even down to the same coloration.
Mario Kart Slot Cars were created as a promotion for this game.
During the race when a character gets the item box, the item-roulette sound effect stop selection was "Blah". The item-roulette sound effect carries over to Mario Kart Wii.
When players play Mario Kart DS on any DS systems, Mario will say "Wahoo!" in Original DS, but "Here we go!" in DS Lite, DSi and 3DS.
The American version of Mario Kart DS is one of the few games on the DS to have a multiple language option (almost all European DS games have this function, though). Depending on the language of the DS, the language on the game will change; however, it will not change into Japanese.
Mario Kart DS is one of the first games to be released that was compatible with the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, allowing players to go online and race against other users around the world.
A player's overall game ranking (*, **, or *** stars, if achieved) will appear next to his or her name online while racing.
Mario Kart DS still maintains a 9.2 average at Gamestats, #1 on the Nintendo DS (as of 15:40, 22 December 2006 (EST)).
Gamespy reviewer Bryn Williams admitted that online, Nintendo "trimmed it back a little too much for my liking", but was certain that "Even with a few online flaws, this is the best Mario Kart ever.." (5/5; Multiplayer: Great)
Gamespot reviewer Justin Calvert had similar quips with the online feature: "Whether these opponents were leaving voluntarily or because of network problems is anybody's guess, but it's equally irritating either way." Yet, he finished up similarly by saying "Mario Kart DS is without a doubt one of the best games to hit the Nintendo DS to date." (9.2/10; Gamespot Editor's Choice; DS Game of the Year)
IGN reviewer Craig Harris commented that "it's just hard to ignore just how limited the online presentation is." But again, his closing line was this: "The only way to finish this review is just to say it: this is the greatest Mario Kart game ever developed, and is without a doubt the best DS game of 2005." (9.5/10; IGN Editor's Choice Award; DS Game of the Year)